If Jakob Pelletier works as hard with the World Junior Selection Camp as he has his entire career, who’s to say this youngster won’t make the roster? Last season, although there no guarantee he would make the team, he looked to have good shot. Then, sadly for him, he suffered a concussion and wasn’t able to try out. He was devasted at the time, but perhaps this season will be better.
The Calgary Flames chose Pelletier as the team’s first-round pick (26th overall) during the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. At the time, Pelletier was on the smallish side at 5-foot-9; however, since then, he’s grown an inch.
But size was not his only deficiency. He has plenty of skill; however, at the same time, he’s not known as possessing the best skating skills.
Deficiencies or Not, Pelletier is a Scorer
Still, somehow, he scored 39 goals and 50 assists (for 89 points) during the 2018-19 season playing in 65 games for the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats. He followed up that record in 2019-20 by scoring 32 goals and 50 assists, this time in 57 games also with the Wildcats.
What Pelletier lacks in skating speed he makes up with good on-ice vision and good moves. He has good puck-possession skills, is creative with the puck, is tough for his small stature, and plays a determined game.
The Flames Saw Pelletier as a Long-Term Project
When the Flames picked Pelletier in the first round, they obviously liked him enough to choose him; however, they saw him as a long-term project. The Flames general manager Brad Treliving noted that Pelletier was probably a few seasons away from actually playing in the NHL, but he saw lots he liked in the young player.
Specifically, Treliving saw him as having “elite compete and elite hockey sense,” which were two things the organization valued.
Treliving added, “He’s very productive, he has skill, but he has hard skill. He goes to the hard areas. The DNA of this kid is a high, high motor and just ultra, ultra competitive. Tons of character. That’s the core of him and it’s wrapped in a pretty skilled package.” (from “Flames select winger Jakob Pelletier in first round of 2019 NHL Draft, Wes Gilbertson, Calgary Sun, 22/06/19).
Pelletier Was Nervous Headed into His Rookie Camp
Before Pelletier attended his rookie camp with the Flames he admitted to being nervous. He shared that he thought he could leverage that nervous energy in a positive way.
“It’s going to be crazy. Maybe I’m going to be nervous. I think I’m going to be pretty excited. And I have to take the excitement to show on the ice what I can do. If I stay the same player and stay the same person, I think I’m going to be alright.”
Obviously the Flames agreed. In September, 2019, the organization signed him to a three-year, entry-level contract. Although he was cut from his rookie training camp, his parting gift after the camp was the contract.
With the NHL now in its offseason and the QMJHL regular season under way, Pelletier has began to play with the Val d’Or Flueurs instead of with Moncton. He’s having similar success this season as last. In six games so far, he scored three goals and six assists for nine points.
Today it was announced that Pelletier was once again named to Hockey Canada’s 2021 World Junior Selection Camp roster. Given his situation last season when he wasn’t able to play because of an injury, he’s especially motivated to earn a roster spot with Team Canada for the World Junior Championship 2021 tournament.
Pelletier said about last season’s camp, “Last time, there were so many emotions. It was overwhelming. Devastating. But this year, I’m ready. I want to do it. I’m going there on a mission.”
Although the competition will be tough for spots on the team, and about two times as many players have been invited this year than last, it’s obvious some good young prospects won’t make the team. Still, Pelletier is confident he can be one of those who does make it.
We wish him luck.
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